A Realtor in San Francisco is required to present each and every offer received on the property, right? Well, not exactly. While a seller can absolutely be discriminating in the review of offers, they may not discriminate on an illegal basis. This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk about offers.
Does a Listing Agent Have to Present My Offer to the Seller?
There is a misconception that the listing agent is required to present ALL offers to the seller. This is only true if the seller and agent have not had a prior conversation with regard to acceptable offers. A seller can instruct an agent about the offers they will review, some common examples being: no offers before a certain date, no offers below a certain price or only offers with certain contingencies.
Does this mean the seller can choose to only view cash offers that close within 10 days? Yep! It´s crazy enough that they can do that, but some can even say no to a buyer if they don´t have insurance. So make sure you get some cheap car insurance to avoid that.
What it doesn’t mean is that the seller can choose which offers to view for reasons that are discriminatory in nature! The conditions set must not violate the Fair Housing Act. Unfortunately, discrimination in housing isn’t something that only happened in the past, which leads to a short tangent about a housing lease from the 40s/50s.
Matt quotes the definitive source on presenting offers: The California Bureau (Dept) of Real Estate on the presentation of offers.
May a Seller Discriminate When Accepting an Offer?
To repeat: while a seller can provide any instructions they wish to their agent, an agent may not break the law and present or not present an offer if the seller instructions with regard to offers are illegal.
Offer Dates & Rejecting Offers
With a little clarity on requirements around presenting offers, we shift gears and chat about rejected offers and what rights a buyer has about rejected offers. While the Bureau of Real Estate is clear that a seller is not required to reject offers in writing, doing so does makes the best risk management practice.
Matt and Britton explain the reasons why it is good to have something in writing from a compliance and management point of view, however.
Finally: Best practices (in our humble opinion) with regard to offer dates and pre-emptive offers and why it might be a good idea to stick to the advertised offer date!
We hope you enjoyed listening to this podcast as much as we enjoyed recording it and tune in again next week for more interesting tidbits on San Francisco real estate.